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Graduate Student Focus


Jackson Scholars Network

The Legacy of Dr. Barbara Loomis Jackson


Dr. Barbara L. Jackson (1928-2012)

The UCEA Barbara L. Jackson Scholars Network began in November 2003, created by a vote of the members of the UCEA Plenum. This two-year program provides formal networking, mentoring and professional development for graduate students of color who intend to become professors of educational leadership.

Through this significant effort, UCEA has facilitated the development of a robust pipeline of faculty and graduate students of color in the field of educational leadership. As a result, Barbara Jackson Scholars and Alumni enhance the field of educational leadership and UCEA with their scholarship and expertise.

How UCEA’s Jackson Scholars Network connects future leaders

Provides doctoral students of color with a system of support – across all UCEA member institutions – from the completion of academic requirements to their entrance into professorial roles, through:

Modeling mentoring experiences and professorial practices necessary to promote successful transition into the professoriate

Ensuring the presence of faculty of color in UCEA educational leadership programs in numbers sufficient to assure these programs reflect the diversity of our society and schools

Enhances the university’s ability to recruit people of color into K-12 administrative programs to address the need for a larger pool of K-12 administrators of color.

Demonstrates UCEA’s commitment to diversity, equity, and social justice, through mentoring, knowledge sharing, and educational opportunities.


Kortney Hernandez, Ed. D.
Loyola Marymount University
Educational Leadership for Social Justice

My Jackson Scholar Experience

As the first student from Loyola Marymount University selected to participate in the Barbara Jackson Scholars Network (2014-2016), I found a place that valued students of color and pushed institutions to recognize that graduate students from historically underrepresented groups are both capable and deserving of being at the table. It was also the first place where I publicly presented my dissertation research. The Barbara Jackson Scholars Network represents for me a call for institutions and communities to challenge the silencing of scholars of color and simultaneously provide a space where the voices, contributions, and lived experiences of emerging scholars of color are valued. As Jackson Scholars, we are given opportunities to work with and learn from faculty mentors who are loving, welcoming,  critical and passionate, because they understand intimately and firsthand the struggles we face within institutions that are deeply mired in histories of inequality. It is for this reason that I will always cherish and honor the sense of community I experienced and the support provided to us by the Jackson Scholars Network—especially the chanting circles, where we linked arms and deeply affirmed—I am because we are

  Meet Others, Like Kortney, Who Continue to Be Inspired by the
Jackson Scholars Network:


Barbara Jackson Scholars Program

Guidelines for Participation as a Jackson Scholar:

Each UCEA Institution is encouraged to identify a minimum of one, preferably more, graduate student(s) to be nominated as a UCEA Barbara L. Jackson Scholar. Once identified and admitted, the UCEA Barbara L. Jackson Scholars will receive formal recognition at their institutions and within the UCEA consortium. The UCEA Barbara L. Jackson Scholars will become part of a UCEA network. With the provision of space on the website, and based on the ability of UCEA to acquire external funding, scholars will engage in a graduate student seminar held annually during the UCEA Convention and have ongoing participation in listservs and other forms of communication. UCEA has developed a mentoring program for Jackson Scholars, through which scholars will receive mentoring in publishing, teaching and navigating higher education.

Each UCEA Institution is expected to make a financial commitment to sending the UCEA Barbara L. Jackson Scholars to the UCEA convention where they will have opportunities to connect and work with one another. UCEA institutions are also expected to provide the Jackson Scholar with research and teaching opportunities within their home institution.

Program Rationale:

Although the US, UK, and Canada are becoming increasingly diverse, the teaching and leadership corps of these countries, and higher education leadership faculty, continue to be predominantly white. Data from 1999-2000 indicate that only 14.8% of school administrators in the US are people of color. In colleges of education, where most of these school and school system leaders are being educated, the percent of faculty members of color is 15.5%. Without some proactive intervention, it does not appear that these figures will change greatly in the next decade.

In his book Building Bridges delineating the history of UCEA, Jack Culbertson notes that UCEA was influenced at its beginnings by the fundamental belief that schools and universities must work together to improve educational leadership preparation and that “leadership was a prerequisite for human progress” (p. 24). In recent years, with both its membership criteria and its strategic plan, UCEA has taken a public stand to foster “human progress” through its support of equity and social justice in our institutions, our organization, and our work. We pride ourselves on having a membership that is considered among the best doctoral granting educational leadership programs in the world. In order to maintain that status, it is imperative that we model what we believe by having a diverse faculty.

We believe that by establishing a support network for students of color who plan to enter educational leadership programs in higher education, we will:

  • help in recruiting students from minority groups into our programs and thus into K-12 and higher education positions;
  • expand our capacity to place and retain minorities in positions in UCEA institutions; and,
  • lessen the isolation often felt by minorities as they matriculate in their studies and work in our institutions.

 Establishment of this support network will also assist in assuring that our institutional cultures are more welcoming and comfortable for students of color while enhancing our capacity to more fully understand students from differing backgrounds. Concurrently, research perspectives in our field are being broadened thus enhancing our credibility in higher education and K-12 schooling. Finally, this action perpetuates the fundamental belief upon which UCEA was built– the collaborative effort of educational organizations will improve educational leadership and leadership preparation, which in turn will facilitate educational advancement and human progress.

photo credit: GlynLowe